The Women’s Christian Association will recognize six women for their work and dedication to the Little Falls community during the eighth annual Women of Distinction Breakfast on Thursday, May16, at the Knights Inn from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
The breakfast serves as a showcase for members of the community to select who they believe should be honored for their contribution to Little Falls community in six categories — business and industry, music and art, education, health care, religion and volunteerism. The award winners are selected by the WCA board.
“Little Falls is fortunate to have many women who are working to improve the quality of life in our community. Let’s show we do, indeed, appreciate all that women accomplish every day,” said Barb Smith, WCA president.
The following women will be honored this year.
Faye Bunk — Volunteerism
Faye Bunk is a tireless and dedicated worker for Helping Animals Live Organization, a volunteer organization that saves the lives of many cats and kittens. At least six days a week, Bunk visits the H.A.L.O. House on Albany Street to administer medicine to 30 cats and kittens. On several occasions Bunk will go out of her way to capture strays and bring them to H.A.L.O., insuring the health of the animals by spending many hours at veterinarian offices throughout the Mohawk Valley. Many times Bunk is successful at finding local homes for the animals, but she also works with adoption agencies in Albany to place the animals in a happy and healthy home. Additionally, Bunk spends time doing fundraisers to provide money to feed and pay veterinarian bills for H.A.L.O.
Without Bunk’s efforts there would be many unwanted cats all over the Little Falls area. Bunk works day in and day out and she is dedicated to help any animal in distress.
Patricia Ralbovsky — Religion
As a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Universalist Church, Patricia Ralbovsky has sung in the junior choir, attended Sunday school, went to church camp, married in the church, taught Sunday school while her children attended class and served on the church’s governing board several times, recently as its president and currently as its clerk.
Ralbovsky is viewed as the church’s “go to” person and helps others to understand the church’s history, programs and patterns.
Presently, the church is in its third year without a minister and the successful day-to-day running of church operations is largely in Ralbovsky’s hands. She runs the church office, produces the newsletter and Sunday bulletins and handles publicity and telephone messages.
Ralbovsky’s life exemplifies her Universalist faith, which emphasizes deeds over creeds. Her relationships with her family, church and community live this out on a daily basis.
Page 2 of 3 - Jane H. Malin — Music and Art|
Although Jane Malin works full time in Washington, D.C., she still manages to serve as the choir director at Emmanuel Episcopal Church where her choir and music are well known and appreciated.
In addition, she formed a smaller group of singers called Homeward Bound, who sing regularly at the annual Canal Celebration and at various events in the Mohawk Valley, such as the yearly 9/11 ceremonies in Herkimer.
Malin sings in several ecumenical choirs such as Mary Puznowski’s veterans’ program at Holy Family Parish and Helen Maksymicz’s spring concert when she is in town. She even brought her group to Folts Homes in Herkimer a few years back to entertain the residents there. At one time she played the spoons in Maksymicz’s Dixieland band.
Malin readily agrees to sing wherever any charitable event is planned and all who listen to her appreciate her beautiful singing voice.
Dr. Usha Wadhera — Health Care
Dr. Usha Wadhera has been a prominent physician and a member of the community for 25 years and in that time she has proven to be a generous, caring, supportive, intelligent women, as well as a physician. Her lifelong dedication and commitment to the health care field is one to be admired and reflected on.
Wadhera has worked at Little Falls Hospital for 20 year and has always been polite and respectful with all personnel, parents, families and visitors.
This year Wadhera will retire at the end of March and in this transition she is working diligently to make sure her patients are in capable hands and with a physician who will treat them like she would — with professional courtesy, respect and with personal dedication and commitment.
Tara Krasuski — Education
As a fourth grade teacher at Benton Hall Academy, Tara Krasuski has always tried to teach her students important life lessons. Some lessons she has impressed on her class are treating one another with respect and kindness, helping others and the importance of family. To practice what she has preached Krasuski has lead her class to partake in the St. Jude’s Math-A-Thon.
Krasuski has her masters in special education and has a wonderful way if integrating students of all academic levels. She introduced a unique behavior modification program, which was shared with, and adopted by, members of her teaching team.
Krasuski also helps students succeed beyond the classroom by tutoring and teaching the after school Homework Academy.
To help make learning fun Krasuski writes lyrics to songs and applies them to her lessons, to help make learning easier. Krasuski continually brings literature across the curriculum, hoping to promote lifelong readers in several areas of learning.
In addition to Krasuski’s teaching achievements, several parents have expressed just how much their children have enjoyed having her as a teacher and what excellent parent and teacher communication she has.
Page 3 of 3 - Krasuski is currently writing children’s books and hopes to have them published.
Geri Kazmerski — Business Industry
Geri Kazmerski has owned and operated a successful day care business in Little Falls for 23 years. Her business provides child care for working parents, but her mission in her own words is “to provide a safe, fun and learning environment in which children can grow and flourish.”
Kazmerski takes her occupation seriously and always strives to improve her service and stays current with certification requirements. She is a licensed state childcare provider.
Kazmerski is the founder and president of the Herkimer County Child Care Association for the past 15 years. She organizes the required training courses for the members by arranging for child-care professionals to donate much of their time, thus eliminating expenses day care providers in the organization would otherwise incur for the courses.
She is a member of Family Child Care Association of New York and previously was a board member and served as secretary for two years and vice president for four years.
Last year, she arranged to coordinate with Herkimer County Healthnet to have free specialized mulch delivered so 12 providers in the county could use it as a safe play surface for their outdoor playground equipment as required by the state.
Additionally, Kazmerski is a member of Voice of Independent Childcare Educators and for the past year and a half has sat on the board of advisors for Mid-York of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Kazmerski is a compassionate woman and has a deep love for the children in her care.
Tickets for the Women of Distinction breakfast are on sale for $10 and will be available at the WCA in Little Falls by calling 832-0960 or through any WCA board member.
The WCA encourages previous award winners to attend this year’s banquet to support the 2013 winners.